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Anthony I Kassymatas, patriarch of Constantinople (821–37)

Accession number BZS.1958.106.5703 (formerly DO 58.106.5703)
Diameter 38 mm
Condition Chipped. Two holes.
Previous Editions

DO Seals 6, no. 111.1; Zacos–Veglery, no. 1417; Zacos, Seals 2: no. 3; Laurent, Corpus 5.1: no. 4; Oikonomides, Dated Lead Seals, no. 45.


Cruciform invocative monogram (type VIII); in each quarter, a cross. Wreath border.


Inscription of five lines. Wreath border.


Ἀντωνίῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Κωνσταντινου[πό]λε(ως).


Κύριε βοήθει Ἀντωνίῳ ἐπισκόπῳ Κωνσταντινουπόλεως.

Lord, help Anthony, bishop [patriarch] of Constantinople.


Anthony’s given name was Constantine. Unlike his predecessor he was not the scion of an illustrious family. His father stemmed from a family of shoemakers. Constantine (Anthony) was born at Constantinople between 760 and 780; he rose through education to the position of nomikos or lawyer, a profession that he exercised during the first phase of his career in the Constantinopolitan quarter known as Sphorakiou. Subsequently he became a monk and then abbot of a monastery located in the Petrion quarter of Constantinople called μονὴ τῆς Θεοτόκου τῶν Μητροπολίτου (Janin, Églises, 197); by 814 he had been elevated to the episcopal throne of Syllaion (ἐπίσκοπος τοῦ Συλέου; see Letter of the Three Patriarchs, p. 116). In 821 Michael II, frustrating the wishes of the party of Theodore of Stoudios, who wanted to see Nikephoros I return to the patriarchal throne, placed Anthony on it instead. Before his death in 837 he seems to have convened an iconoclast synod (Letter of the Three Patriarchs, p. 66). He is anathematized, along with his predecessor Theodotos and his successor John, in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy: Θεοδότῳ, Ἀντωνίῳ καὶ Ἰωάννῃ, τοῖς ἀλληλοπροξένοις τῶν κακῶν καὶ ἑτεροδιαδόχοις τὴν δυσσέβειαν, ἀνάθεμα (Gouillard, “Synodikon,” 57, at lines 173–74). For an overview of Anthony’s career, see Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit 1: no. 550.

Laurent illustrates this seal, but fails to mention it in the entry. Instead he cites a specimen in the Vienna Collection (no. 74) that seems to have slightly different lettering. Both this seal and that of Patriarch Theodotos (BZS.1947.2.3) employ a decorative motif consisting of a cruciform monogram with a cross in each quarter. It is not a common device and at this date is anachronistic. One can cite examples, such as Zacos–Veglery, nos. 1396 and 1399, but both specimens date from the eighth century.